The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals is an urgent and critical call for action from all United Nations member states. The 17 goals advocate the importance of understanding the different goals together. Ending deprivation of all kinds needs to combine with strategies that improve people’s courage and willpower to engage and make changes to ensure the protection of the planet’s resources. For this to happen, we need a drive for new perspectives on education at different levels. The aim of education is to scaffold, inspire, embolden and empower students, and thus to encourage independence and critical thinking. As such, education could enable democratic and equal learning opportunities, including cultural aspects as well as civic dimensions. This kind of education would not instruct students in anticipated and predictable directions, but rather, to provide them with a sense of agency.
This project is based on a holistic approach to issues related to sustainability. The project integrates environmental, social and economic issues into teaching, involving children and young people in the learning process, and preparing them for the future. Our point of departure - a holistic view on education, includes a critical place-based pedagogy that uses the community and their resources as a foundation, emphasising interdisciplinary teaching and learning and promoting a democratic empowering educational setting. The aim with such a setting is to provide students with a sense of agency, and to recognise them as producers of their own knowledge. In addition to place-based pedagogy, our project is based on critical pedagogy which supports questioning oneself as well as relationships to power and providing the students opportunities to question and collaborate through democratic processes that include environmental encounters. Our viewpoint on holistic education is in keeping with UNESCO’s declaration:
It is not enough to supply each child early in life with a store of knowledge to be drawn on from then on. Each individual must be equipped to seize learning opportunities throughout life, both to broaden her or his knowledge, skills and attitudes, and to adapt to a changing, complex and interdependent world (UNESCO, 1996: 85).